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Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
264 642283 Aug 21, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $2,080.05
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.31
8.66
9.1
ef100_400l_1_

Specifications:
L-series super telephoto zoom lens equipped with an Image Stabilizer. The fluorite and Super UD-glass elements largely eliminate secondary spectrum. The floating system also ensures high picture quality at all focal lengths. The Image Stabilizer has two modes and it is compatible with Extenders 1.4x II and 2x II.


 


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uz2work
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Registered: Mar 3, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 11684
Review Date: Mar 3, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: relatively small compared to most Canon prime lenses, relatively inexpensive compared to other L lenses IS
Cons:
none noted

It seems that people either love or hate this lens. I do nature photography, especially birds. I have a 500mm f4 IS, also, While that
lens gives great results, it is not exactly what I would call a "walking
around" lens. With my 100-400, I can handle it and hand hold it all
day long. I have manueverability, and I have the flexibility, if I need to
to shorten the lens. It has been the perfect lens for capturing eagles in flight at less than about 300 feet. Perhaps I just got a good one, but
I have found that my autofocus is relatively fast and razor sharp. The
autofocus does an excellent job of following a moving object. When I've taken bursts of 7or 8 pictures of the same bird, I've often gotten
6-8 razor sharp images. I find that I use the 500 mm only when I absolutely need the extra length and when I can use a tripod. With the
100-400, also, if I need just a bit more length, I've found that, by taping the contacts, I can use a 1.4x converter and still get the autofocus to
work quite well. On my lens, the IS works flawlessly. I would not consider using a lens of this size without the IS. It is the lens that is on my camera more than any
other, and I highly recommend it.


Mar 3, 2004
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vince
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Registered: Mar 18, 2002
Location: China
Posts: 306
Review Date: Feb 2, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very sharp optics, well constructed and solid
Cons:
Bulky, heavy, push-pull "dust sucker" zoom, awkward when zoomed to 400mm.

Contrary to what many people claim, my sample had excellent optics. I couldn't tell the difference between the shots taken on this lens and the shots taken using the 200/2.8 or 100/2 lenses. Contrast and color are superb. IS really works and has saved my a** many times. However I had to sell this and replaced it with a 70-200/4L.

The lens used to suck in a lot of dust and after a couple of years of use I was horrified at the junk inside it. I also found it very awkward to balance at 300-400mm since it extends way out. Due to its bulk and weight I usually left it at home and grabbed a 200/2.8, 100 or 50mm lens instead. In the end I sold it. My shoulder thanks me now Smile


Feb 2, 2004
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MikeBinOKlahom
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Registered: Sep 16, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 653
Review Date: Jan 17, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Flexible, light, affordable (though not cheap).
Cons:
Push pull zoom is awkward, may suck dust, and can sometimes adjust your focal length without you realizing it.

I think of this lens as the nature photographer's belly button. Everyone has one! It is possibly the best one-lens-kit for those who do wildlife photography.
Mine is decently sharp, I handheld the 100-400 and my Canon D60 for an airshow photograph of a stunt biplane buzzing the crowd. With minor sharpening to the image, you can read the letters on the pilot's helmet! But it is NOT as sharp as a good prime, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Based on experiences of others, I believe there is signifcant quality control variability on this product. If you get one and it is not sharp, try to trade it in for another before giving up on the lens.
Some people report great results using this lens with 1.4 and even 2x teleconverters, but I've never gotten a satisfactory shot using a teleconverter.
As mentioned in negative aspects, the push/pull design is not the best, but I highly recommend this lens nonetheless.


Jan 17, 2004
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GTrom
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Registered: Nov 2, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 528
Review Date: Jan 15, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,175.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Canon, 100 - 400 IS. Very well built, feels good in the hand. Weight has a stabilizing effect (inertia). Sharp and clean.
Cons:
Haven't found any.

I know people are all over the map about the push-pull design withthis lens, but since it was made that way befoer they bought it how can they complain?
AF nails it virtually all the time. Razor sharp.
And a BLAST to use!
Can't wait to get to Klamath to get some shot of eagles and such!

Gordon


Jan 15, 2004
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thebiker
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Registered: Jun 3, 2003
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 292
Review Date: Dec 20, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,500.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very useful and versatile zoom range for Nature photography. Image Stabilizer is a plus point, Good Price to Performance Ratio. Fully extended, it is a sexy accessory to attract envious glances from other photographers. I'm only a serious amateur and hobbyist and for my non commercial purposes, it also shoots extremely acceptable pictures.
Cons:
Auto-focus doesn't work with my 1.4x Extender. Weight. Unlike my EF 70-200L F2.8 IS, the length of the lens increases as you zoom the lens. Autofocussing also not as crisp as the 70-200. In terms of my personal perception of "picture quality", it loses out to the 70-200.

I've only had this lens for a week and have been playing with it shooting some birds in the Wetlands near my home. Thus far I'm extremely pleased with the results. I've posted a couple of Bird shots from about 50 meters handheld under the thread A Malaysian Milky Stork in the Nature section.
I tried photographing a stork in flight but werent too successful. Got to get used to the weight, which gets very noticeable after a couple of hours.


Dec 20, 2003
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WilbertC
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Registered: Mar 7, 2003
Location: China
Posts: 19
Review Date: Oct 19, 2003 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 4 

 
Pros: Flexibility of a telezoom.
Cons:
Rather outdated push-pull 1st generation IS slow telezoom lens of mediocre image quality.

Too slow a telezoom of my liking. Flexibility is the only asset, I kept it just for light travels with some reach at the long end. I might get rid of it any day. Any takers ?

Oct 19, 2003
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EOSPETE
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Registered: Sep 25, 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 7
Review Date: Sep 7, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Flexibility of framing, close focus
Cons:
soft wide open, stuggles to AF with 1.4x even with taping on D60, dust

Like some other users I have found dust a problem but haven't experienced the jams. A great lens for telephoto macro work when using 500D and tubes. Sharpness increases when stopped down 1/2 stop to 6.7.

Super safari lens when you are confined to a vehicle.

Can't seem to get sharp shots with 1.4x on D60 even when using mirror lock and beanbag/tripod but maybe its just me.

Ideal replacement would be 300f2.8IS with convertors

Peter


Sep 7, 2003
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hamster
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Registered: Aug 27, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 4007
Review Date: Sep 4, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Color, sharpness, dual IS, built.
Cons:
Cost (but worth the price), weight, at 400mm it loses its sharpness a little.

I just got this lens not too long ago, but I have arleady taken tons of photos. I like the IS, it really helps on panning shots and low light situation. It has dual IS, mode 1 is for stationary object and mode 2 is for panning. This lens gives me satisfying results. It is sharp and colorful almost at all focal length. At 400mm however, it loses its sharpness a little, so I have to stop down to f/11. I did comparison at 400mm focal length, it seems to give sharpest result at f/11. The built quality of this lens is excellent, sturdy built.

Many people complain about the push-pull design. I actually kinda like this design. It's faster to zoom or pull-back. At 3 lbs, this lens is heavy, however I don't mind the weight.

Bottom line, this is a very versatile lens. You can use this lens for just about anything. No, it's not as sharp as prime lenses (nor do I expect it to be), but it comes very close. For the versatility that this lens gives, I wouldn't complain about being not as sharp as prime lenses.


Sep 4, 2003
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John57
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Registered: Jun 13, 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 53
Review Date: Aug 13, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,239.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp images, IS, build quality, range
Cons:
Weight, Cost, colour

I've only recently got this lens but have taken alot of shots with it already and been really impressed - I was concerned by some of the reviews saying it's a bit soft at 400mm but I have found my copy very sharp. I also have a 35-350 and though the scales say the 100-400 is heavier it certainly doesn't feel it.... The push pull on my 100-400 is smoother than the 35-350 but I am sure this varies with individual copies of the lens.

I have done a brief test of a static subject using a 70-200 f2.8 with 2x TC at 400mm, a 35-350 at 350mm and the 100-400 at 400mm f5.6. The result was that the 70-200 with the TC attached was clearly the worst for sharpness and contrast; which surpised me as the lens without the TC is a stunner. The 35-350 produced a very good sharp image (which I have come to expect from it) but the 100-400 was noticeably better - sharper and with more contrast.

I look forward to using this lens alot!


Aug 13, 2003
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FredericB
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Registered: Jul 22, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 248
Review Date: Aug 1, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Versatile (100mm to 400mm), nice minimum focusing distance (6 ft), sharp, shooting handheld at 400mm at 1/60s made easy !
Cons:
Not as sharp as I had been told, heavy

A very nice lens that I bought to replace a 300mm f:4 L IS.

I gained in flexability and versatility but I lost in sharpness and quality of bokeh.
At 300mm the zoom is clearly not as sharp as the prime and 1 stop slower - at 400mm the match is more even between the zoom and the 300mm + *1.4 multiplicator which both open at f:5.6

When I look at my slides I do regret my 300mm when I am after sharpness but most of the time the ease of use akes me forget about the slight loss in details.

With the *1.6 croping factor and the fact that only the center of the lens (sharpest) is used - it should be the perfect lens for nature photography with an eos 10d (that I hope to get soon). But I also think to complement it w/ a 300 f;2.8 L IS for my trips to africa.


Aug 1, 2003
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Scubastu
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Registered: May 3, 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 200
Review Date: Jul 9, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Build Quality, Sharp Pictures, fast AF
Cons:
F4 would be nice but I just dial up the ISO on my 10D.

I've used this lens extensively for flight shots of raptors, in this instance, the push pull design is a god send. I'd pull back to 100-200mm to find the bird in the sky then push back out to get as much of the bird in the frame as possible.

AF with the 1.4 TC works great with Fred's taping trick.

Sharpness is outstanding...if I do my part...USM and IS will definitely keep this lens head and shoulders about the new Sigma and Nikon 80-400's

stu


Jul 9, 2003
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Unregistered
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Location: Canada
Review Date: Jun 22, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Dual IS - Excellent build quality
Cons:
Large - Heavy, push pull zoom

The EF 100-400L is one of Canon’s “L” (for Luxury) series of professional lenses. High quality images.

Jun 22, 2003
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RFMSports
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Registered: Oct 11, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 426
Review Date: Jun 11, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,350.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Dual IS - Excellent build quality
Cons:
Large - Heavy

It's amusing when people buy a product with specifications that are clearly laid out, and then diss the product for those specs. This is not the fastest lens on the planet. I know that, and it does incorporate the push-pull design. I have no problem with the push-pull design. If I didn't want that, I would have purchased something else. I bought this lens for shooting outdoor sports in the sun so a fast lens is not needed. Not to mention the it's coupled with my 10D which shoots extremely nice at ISO1600 so I can always make up for it there if needed.

This is a great middle-of-the-line L lens and is extremely versatile with its 100-400 range. The photos are tack sharp and the only complaint (minor as it is) is that it's large and a bit heavy. But most of the stems with the fact that I am just not used to shooting with a lens this large. If I updated this review in a month I am confident that 'con' would be removed from my list.

The build-quality of L lenses is remarkable and this lens is no different. L lenses are widely known for their build and dust resistance and I have yet to read of people having dust problems so I consider the 'dust sucking' claim to be nothing more than an old-wives tale. You could change a tire with this lens and then turn around a shoot pictures of butterflies.

A definite thumbs-up for this lens!


Jun 11, 2003
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John Wright
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Registered: Jun 4, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 2769
Review Date: Jun 9, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: size and weight, stabilization,
Cons:
push-pull zoom, attracts too much attention

This has been my prime lens for outdoor shooting ever since I purchased it in 1999. My only complaint is the push-pull zoom. About 18 months ago mine jammed solid and wouldn't zoom at all. After repair, which entailed replacement of the lens barrel, the push pull is now tight so it doesn't zoom smoothly. I'm about to return it to Canon to see if it can be smoothed out. I believe my problem to be an isolated one as I have heard nothing about this problem happening to others. I would still recommend this lens, particularly to those who can't afford the long, fast glass.

Jun 9, 2003
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Griffin
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Registered: Jan 8, 2002
Location: China
Posts: 879
Review Date: Jun 3, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Very flexible lens in outdoor use; Strongly built (but no-one tells you to drop it!); IS, handholdable; very easy to carry; somewhat personal-biasd
Cons:
Reserved about push-pull design; IS is somewhat dated; wished it would be a f/4 @400; draws too much unnecessary attention when used;

My first and only lens for most nature works. Used it almost two years and all I could say is "stay with me". The lens could have been better but how I could ask for more with a 400mm zoom with dual mode IS! It is quite sharp @400 but ok the primes are hard to beat -- but the flexibility can't be beat! Enough said. Smile

Jun 3, 2003
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traveler
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Registered: Jan 8, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 3453
Review Date: May 28, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,320.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp even wide open, wonderful focal range, built like a brick (you know what), fast to focus in decent light, push-pull design a "love it or leave it" proposition as I have no issues with it.
Cons:
N/A

Although this lens is much maligned for either it's push-pull design and supposed propensity toward sucking dust, I have not found it to be an issue. I take shots wide open @400mm with this and find the output crisp and delightfully colorful (unlike some of the negative comments I've read). I have even found it very useful with a 1.4xII teleconverter when that extra reach is necessary. In decent light (the only time I use it) the focusing on my 1D is immediate and without fanfare. All in all it's a wonderful lens which I will likely keep in my bag as long as I'm able to remain a photographer........

May 28, 2003
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Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
264 642283 Aug 21, 2014
Recommended By Average Price
91% of reviewers $2,080.05
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.31
8.66
9.1
ef100_400l_1_


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